Cheetah Walks Over to Photographer for a Head Rub During Photo Shoot

Cheetah gets headrub from photographer

A photographer was in the midst of taking photos of a cheetah who had other ideas when she walked over to him for a head rub instead.

The heartwarming moment was shared by adventure and wildlife photographer Casey Cooper on his TikTok page with the caption: “Tried taking some photos of a cheetah but she had a different plan.”

@cooperlost Tried taking some photos of a cheetah but she had a different plan 😳 #cuteanimals #cheetah #wildlife #africa ♬ A Gentle Sunlight – James Quinn

Cooper shared the beautiful photo he was taking of the cheetah in South Africa with PetaPixel and says he was out shooting photos of the big cats and other wildlife.

“I was surprised by how gentle and sweet the cheetah was. But she was a habituated cheetah that has been around humans a bit,” he explains. “But she is a big cat and you never know how they will react to your presence.”

The photo Cooper was taking of the cheetah.

Cooper says that in his experience as a wildlife photographer, cheetahs are the “sweetest” of the big cats. However, they still need the utmost respect.

“They don’t see humans as prey but they can cause immense bodily harm and even death. After all, they are the fastest land animal and are very powerful,” Cooper adds.

Cooper has been approached by a cheetah before. While “stuck in a hole” in the Serengeti of Tanzania, the cheetah hopped into the vehicle, video footage of which can be seen below.

@cooperlost #Animals #serengeti #wildlifeoftiktok #cheetah #safari #bigcat ♬ Farm Life – Colt Ford & Justin Moore

Cooper is a full-time wildlife photographer and works with wildlife sanctuaries and reserves.

“Some animal encounters are completely in the wild and others happen at a reserve where the animals are much more habituated to humans,” he says.

“Wild animals are my entire life. I love each and every one of them and will continue to do anything in my power to make sure some of the species I love don’t become extinct. Photographing them is just one of the ways I show the world what’s left to save.”


More of Cooper’s work can be found on his website, Instagram, and TikTok.

Image credits: All photos by Casey Cooper.